It’s not every day that we hear teens giving up their summer to travel to poverty stricken areas, but teens from two local churches packed their bags to go on a mission trip.
“For students to experience a mission it helps them refocus, gets them out of their comfort zone, so they can understand that their skills and their passions can really change a life,” said Laura Jean Martin, High School Ministry Leader at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Saint Elizabeth Seton’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry took their first trip of the year to Louisa, Kentucky to help those living in poverty.
“We went down there to just help out repair some homes everywhere from siding to dry walls painting replace some flooring built some decks and ramps concrete just to help some of the people down there and kind of the poverty stricken areas,” said Jason Novak, Youth and Young Adult Minister at Saint Elizabeth Seton Church.
For many of the students who have never been on a mission before this, it was an overwhelming feeling.
“I came in I didn’t know what to expect and then I came here and for the first time in my life I got to see poverty and I knew that there were people who experienced poverty but it was a good experience and it was the first time I really got a feel for what it felt like,” said Robbie Joe Underwood, Member of Saint Elizabeth Seton Church.
And though the mission for Saint Elizabeth Seton was to lend a helping hand to those in need, it was also a chance for everyone to step back and reevaluate what’s most important in life.
And over at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church they travelled a bit further, crossing the border, to get to international territory.
“We went to three different places in Guatemala. The Dump was definitely the worst environment because it was literally a garbage dump that people live in and they sift through garbage trying to find things to sell,” said Michael Stallter, Member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Not only did the student ministry group get a taste of living conditions in this part of the world, they also got a chance to help with one of the biggest issues their residents are facing.
“We found the biggest problem in Guatemala is water contamination so we want to be able to help from the bottom up and not just with temporary needs but from the foundation of it, so we got water and so water filters, water collection systems, that were our major projects that week,” said Martin.
And though these local students are glad they got to provide basic necessities to those less fortunate, they say the best part of this experience was getting the chance to learn a life lesson at such a young age.
“Those little kids taught me just that you don’t need anything special to be a good person,” said Stallter.
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